Mehdi Roohparvar, a Christian convert in Iran, has been released from Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, according to the London-based religious liberty watchdog group Article 18.
Roohparvar was arrested in January 2019, when intelligence agents raided several homes in the capital city of Tehran. He was convicted of “acting against national security by forming a house-church” and sentenced in October 2020 to five years in prison.
According to the human rights organization Human Rights in Iran, Roohparvar’s conviction, along with those of three other Christian converts, was handed down by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh—nicknamed the “Judge of Death” for his harsh treatment of prisoners of conscience.
Roohparvar’s early release is part of a wider amnesty of prisoners in conjunction with the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Republic, Article 18 said. Two other converts, Saheb Fadaie and Moslem Rahimi, have also been released during February.
Article 18 notes, however, that “such pardons, while welcome, do not address the original injustice of their sentencing and imprisonment, and the government continues to regard rights and freedoms guaranteed in international law as crimes, including the right to freely adopt a religion of one’s choice, and to manifest one’s faith in community with others.”